Kendrick Perkins sends stern warning to Miami Heat: ‘An angry Doc Rivers is not someone you want to face right now’

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ESPN analyst Kendrick Perkins offered a warning to the Miami Heat regarding their upcoming playoff series with the Philadelphia 76ers by citing the angry motivation of Sixers head coach Doc Rivers.

Perkins pointed out that the Heat are entering their Eastern Conference semifinal series against the 76ers with multiple injured players and Rivers’ focus on proving his detractors wrong.

“With the injuries the Heat has, I have this series going seven,” Perkins said. “If [Kyle] Lowry and [Jimmy] Butler aren’t 100 percent, the 76ers are going to win this series. I love Philly’s chances. Doc Rivers is angry. He has much to prove as [James] Harden and [Joel] Embiid. An angry Doc Rivers is not someone you want to face right now.”

Lowry’s hamstring injury forced him to miss the final two games of the Heat’s playoff series against the Atlanta Hawks. Meanwhile, Butler sat out Game 5 of that Hawks series with a knee ailment.

While the first game of that Heat-76ers series doesn’t take place until Monday night in Miami, Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra offered no firm opinion if Lowry and Butler would play in the game.

Rivers’ anger stems in part because of critics who have pointed out that the Los Angeles Clippers twice blew 3-1 playoff leads while he served as the team’s head coach. It should be pointed out that Rivers also led the Boston Celtics to the 2008 NBA title and then took them to Game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals.

Over the course of a lengthy coaching career, Rivers has won more than 1,000 regular season games and over 100 postseason contests. That strong legacy helps explain why Rivers took issue with criticism about his coaching abilities.

In addition to the injuries to Lowry and Butler, three other members of the Heat were held out of Friday’s practice. P.J. Tucker is dealing with a strained right calf and Caleb Martin is rehabbing a sprained right ankle.

The Heat have home-court advantage for their series against the Sixers and would have it again if they happen to advance to the Eastern Conference finals. Any advancement likely depends on how healthy the Heat are against the 76ers and whether they can tamp down Rivers’ emotions.

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Brad Sullivan is a freelance writer for, having been an avid fan of NBA basketball for more than four decades. During that time, he's watched the Heat evolve from gestation period to expansion team all the way to three-time NBA champions. He'll follow their quest toward again reaching those lofty heights, and do so by offering some perspective along the way.